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"Registration Is Discrimination," Lian 2006

These articles were first printed in PLAY Magazine, of Northern Territory SWOP, in 2006

This report was provided to SWOP NT by Justene Dwyer, the NT Police Sex Worker Liaison officer.

Responsibilities of Police

On receipt of an application to become a registered prostitute, Section 9 of the Prostitution Regulation Act states that Police shall cause a search to be made of records available to ensure that the individual to whom the application relates, has not at any time during the immediately preceding 10 years been found guilty of a violent offence or a relevant drug offence as defined in subsection 11 or of an attempt to commit such an offence. The process of an application, also involves an Australia wide criminal history check.

Once an applicant is cleared through all the Police searches, a certificate is generated, stating that the prostitute is eligible to commence employment in the sex worker industry. In order to monitor lawful PRA registrations, a general Alert is recorded on the Police Information System (PROMIS).

The general Alert currently states:

"If this person comes to police attention due to offences under Sections 5, 6(1) or (2), 7, 8, 9 or 11 of the Misuse of Drugs Act or an offence of violence (involving the use or threat of violence)irrespective of the penalty that may be imposed on a finding of guilt - or of an attempt or a drug/violence offence. If you intend to lay charges, please forward information to the Special Operations Section."

This Alert does not disclose the nature of employment of the registered sex worker nor does it contain reference to the term, "prostitute". Concerns have been raised recently over agencies employing prostitutes and relying solely on the word of the prostitute that they are registered, when in fact, they are not. The onus is on the agency manager to ensure that all their prostitutes are lawfully registered, however, if a prostitute (or a manager) is unsure about the registered status of the worker, then they should telephone the Special Operations Section for advice on 08 89 223 344.

Registration is Discrimination

By Lian

As you have read on above the information public protection areas receive about us as sex workers instantly provokes a negative/ cautious response to our needs & invades our Human Rights.

So what are we talking about here? For example, if you are currently abiding by the NT Law and are then registered as a sex worker then the information above will appear beside your name for any call out for police services, so you’ve got a thief /trespasser in your house, or you want to report an accident, or your child has been assaulted, yes all those requests for assistance from the police will be responded to with the page 5 info clearly in their minds. Their approach will not be the same as to other industrial workers. No other worker is required to register in this way and no other worker would put up with it.

So what can we do?

HO DOWN Get involved with newly established local sex worker activist theatre group Email: contact.hodown@gmail.com

Come along to SWOP reference meetings. Email: sam at SWOP sbowden@ntahc.org.au

Lobby and write letters to Clare Martin

Labour is in Power. Lobby Labour Party meetings and members to put up a motion to amend the current discrimination act to include “unlawful to discriminate against a workers choice of current or previous occupation."

A precedent was set in Canberra to establish this law that then in turn dismissed registration of sex workers with the police. All previous files were destroyed and sighted as destroyed by the then Scarlet Alliance President Sue Metzenrath. Other states are yet to follow suite Lobby and amend International Labour Organisation (ILO) International Laws to accept sex work as recognised occupation Lobby United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to recognise a worker’s rights as a human right, to choose to work and be safe within Sex Trade Industry.

Already a lot of ground work has been done from the Scarlet Alliance, Alina at SWOP and Michelle from Blondie’s, other individuals as well. The whole package of what needs to be amended by state, by nation and by international law institutions is available on the Scarlet Alliance website www.scarletalliance.org.au or through SWOP NT, contact Sam.

These two documents were written in 1989, published in 1999/2000:

Principles for Model Sex Industry Legislation This document was produced by Scarlet Alliance and AFAO, Sydney 2000 and written by Sue Metzenrath (Scarlet Alliance) and Linda Banach (AFAO) with thanks to Sera Pinwill and the Scarlet Alliance Law Reform Committee

Unjust and Counter-Productive, The Failure of Governments to Protect Sex Workers from Discrimination Scarlet Alliance and AFAO Sept. 1999 Written by Linda Banach (AFAO) and Edited by Sue Metzenrath (Scarlet Alliance). Unfortunately all these years on still Canberra is the only state that was able to achieve this important change of our rights for the better...yeah, as equal to other workers…

This article is reprinted courtesy of SWOP NT, HO DOWN and Lian, 2006